|This verse often swirled around in my head and my heart during those tough times.|
It should come as no surprise then that he was losing weight with every passing day. He just couldn't keep enough food down to make any headway. He was hooked up to an IV, but it was only to prevent dehydration. He didn't receive any calories from it. This is where his somewhat hefty birth weight became an advantage for him. It wasn't much, but at least he had a little extra to work with. However, if a solution for his feeding problems was not found soon, then his weight loss threatened to become a very critical issue.
Not only was his weight loss of great concern, but so was his lack of physical and mental development. Proper nutrition is vitally important in order for an infant to develop normally. Clearly, Christopher was getting hardly any nutrition at all, and this could mean possible developmental issues in the future, that is, if he even had a future. The doctors weren't too sure if Christopher was going to survive at all. They were telling us to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. When a doctor tells you something like that you KNOW you are in the midst of a very deep, very dark valley!
At this point, I couldn't think of anything else to do accept research the subject as much as I could and ask a lot of questions. The nurses on the pediatric floor became my sounding board. They would carefully listen to the laundry list of tests, procedures, and events of Christopher's day. Then they would give me input about why tests and procedures were being done, what the results meant, and how they could be used to help Christopher get better. They basically would give me a "crash" training course in nursing. They would also help me develop lists of questions/concerns to ask the doctors when they made their rounds. Without their help, I would have been completely lost. They helped me so much. I can't even begin to express my gratitude for their help, concern, and kindness. Nurses are the backbone of the hospital. They are on the front line with their patients. They carry a heavy load and provide an invaluable link between patient and doctor. To all the nurses out there...I say THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!
The chorus of concern about Christopher's situation was growing louder and louder. This simply couldn't go on much longer without grave consequences, but the doctors had exhausted every play in their playbook. The only thing left was surgery. It was a last resort. Doing surgery is always risky, but it is very risky in infants especially ones who have been classified as "failure to thrive".
When I first heard that term, I cringed. "Failure to thrive" sounds pretty ominous, and it is. It's not a term you ever want to have associated with your baby, but like it or not Christopher was the "poster child" for the term. He did not look like the typical newborn. His skin was ghostly pale. It had a horrible blue pallor to it. He was frighteningly thin. He had very little muscle and no fat at all. His skin literally hung off his arms and legs. Every calorie that he was able to hold on to went to brain development, so he had a withered little body and a giant head. He looked so pathetic and tragic. It made me feel sick inside, but I tried to hold on to the hope that the doctors would figure this out before it was too late. As much as I hated the idea of another surgery, maybe it was the missing puzzle piece. Maybe it would provide a path out of the valley we were in.
Talk of the surgery began to be debated back and forth amongst the doctors. Was there another way? Had they overlooked something? Was he strong enough to survive the surgery? After all, this was major surgery. It would require a full zipper incision. That's where they make a cut the full length of the abdomen. Could Christopher's tiny body withstand such a huge surgical procedure? The answers were unclear.
The plan seemed to be to stall and hope things would get better. Then it happened. He started throwing up blood, a lot of blood. Apparently, Christopher's little stomach and esophagus had become so irritated and raw from all the vomiting that they had begun to bleed. That was the last straw. Now there was no more room for debate. Surgery was absolutely necessary before his "failure to thrive" became "failure to survive."
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can pray like this: